Traffic > Appraisal

5 more Metro Manila ticket traps to look out for

And plenty more to come (sadly)

Follow our guide and, hopefully, you'll have less tickets to worry about. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Few things get motorists hotter under the collar than the mention of “ticket Traps,” locations that—for one reason or another—seemingly result in many violation tickets being issued to already suffering drivers.

So, when we asked you last weekend to give us a few more locations to investigate, boy, did you deliver! Hundreds of comments flooded in within minutes, and we dutifully went out and began looking at them all. We started with those that got the most mentions or where we had personal experience, but don’t worry, there will be more articles in the future, and every comment is being checked.

As with all these ticket trap articles, a quick legal disclaimer before we dive in: At no point are we suggesting that the honorable people entrusted with enforcing law and order on our roads are doing anything wrong or deliberately entrapping motorists.

Unsurprisingly, Manila City has the most number of ticket traps in the metro. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

The locations and the scenarios described in this article are merely meant to advise drivers to be extra cautious in certain locations due to signage or traffic patterns that may be different or unfamiliar.

With that out of the way, let’s dive straight into it and mention one thing right at the start: No other city was mentioned more often than Manila City itself. We’re not sure about the underlying reason for this, but from the comments readers left, one could think that there are more crocodiles outside of Manila Zoo than there are inside.

Be wary of what lane you are in when you go straight—some are right turn only. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

1. Lacson corner España. This was one of the most frequently mentioned locations, and an on-site visit did indeed show cars being stopped by the Blue Shirts. The reasons seem to be lane violations and beating the traffic light, according to comments.

Unfortunately, any car stopped by enforcers then almost automatically blocks a lane, causing even more traffic. Nearby corners Lacson and Loyola—as well as Lacson and Fajardo—also got a fair few mentions, so make sure you are always in the correct lane here and keep your wits about you.

It's confusing to people who are new here as PUVs and PUJs can go straight, but private cars can't. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

2. Legarda Street corner Figueras Street. This three-way junction got quite a few citations, and a visit confirmed that Manila enforcers are busy pulling people over left, right, and center.

While we don’t know the exact reasons for the ones we saw being apprehended firsthand, readers tell us that the left lane is a left turn only, and will see you pulled over if you go straight. Apparently, PUVs and PUJs are allowed to go straight, catching people who blindly follow them. Signage on location is at the very least unclear, so be extra careful here.

The classic Taft Avenue ticket trap makes its way to the list. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

3. Taft Avenue and Padre Faura Street. According to our readers, this one applies if you’re heading toward the direction of the city hall on Taft Avenue. We checked and the lane markings in the leftmost lane when turning into Padre Faura Street clearly indicate that you can also go straight. Despite this, cars are allegedly being flagged down when they go straight in the left lane.

We didn’t see this happen ourselves so we can’t comment on accuracy, but as always it pays to be careful in Manila. And if you do get flagged down for it, let us know.

This one's easy to see coming, yet many cross the solid yellow lines. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

4. EDSA U-turn slots. These have popped up as potential ticket traps numerous times in the past and not just during our latest appeal for locations. While there are several U-turn slots where unclear signage can catch you out, the location I heard mentioned the most is probably the one at SM North EDSA.

If you’re traveling northbound, it’s easy to accidentally end up in the U-turn lanes, and if you then cross the solid yellow lines, enforcers are lying in wait to wave you down.

Admittedly, some of the signs are impossible to see, so both parties can be equally at fault. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

As with all the locations in this article, we would never ever suggest that traffic enforcers are deliberately creating scenarios that catch motorists out, but this location could really benefit from some improved signage.

For example, some of the signs are at a 90° angle to the road, and therefore almost impossible to see for drivers heading that way. Dear MMDA, we think you can do better here, please.

The left lane is left turn only, all because the traffic light says so. Weird. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

5. Buendia corner South Superhighway (Osmeña) service road. This one you can see in action in this video, and the story is that the left lane is apparently left turn only because there is a left arrow on the traffic light.

There are no other road markings or signs to say this, so this is at the very least highly questionable, but cars are seemingly still being flagged down by Makati enforcers. We did try and get a reply from the authorities when we first investigated this one, but to no avail.

We are still looking at the many other locations readers gave us, but in the meantime, it always pays to have a dashcam and record any interactions if you think a ticket isn’t fair or the signage inadequate.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.